With such a mild winter and warm spring, mosquitoes and ticks are already out and about, and biting. There has been an influx of news regarding ticks this year and the diseases they may carry, including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease. According to the Wall Street Journal “between 1992 and 2010, reported cases of Lyme doubled, to nearly 23,000 and there were another 7,600 probable cases in 210, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But CDC officials say the true incidence of Lyme may be three times higher.”
The high rate of tick activity so far in 2012 has experts predicting an increase in Lyme disease. Lyme disease, transmitted through a tick bite, can cause nausea, fatigue, joint pain and headaches. If caught early, it can be treated with antibiotics, but if it goes untreated it can cause more serious ailments including shooting pains, dizziness, chronic fatigue and heart palpitations.
As we have mentioned in previous posts, doctors are still debating whether chronic Lyme disease exists and if it does, the best ways to treat it. As the conversation continues as to its validity, some researchers are moving forward and looking for a cure for chronic Lyme.
Over the last two and half years, Dr. Newell-Rogers, a professor at Texas A&M, and Viral Genetics have been testing a new drug that could be prescribed for chronic Lyme disease. Their findings and a proposal for a clinical trial were recently submitted to the FDA for consideration. Time for Lyme, an organization that focuses on the research of tick-borne illnesses, has financed the pre-clinical research. “At present, there is no recognized treatment for Lyme once it has developed into its chronic, long-term state,” says Peter Wild, executive director of Time for Lyme. “We are hopeful that Dr. Newell-Roger’s work will provide the solution that long-term Lyme disease sufferers have been hoping for, for decades.” Read more about the study here.
As the FDA decides on whether or not to move forward with Dr. Newell-Roger’s trial, it is important that we all protect ourselves from ticks in a year that they are expected to be VERY prevalent. Here are some tips:
- Reduce tick exposure through landscaping. Ticks live in moist, shady areas, so separate your outdoor living spaces from their habitats using gravel or wood-chip borders. Mow tall grasses and don’t position playgrounds along the wooded areas.
- Treat your pets. Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses can harm your pets as well. Ask your veterinarian about tick medications.
- Dress appropriately. Wearing loose-fitting, long sleeved and long legged clothing will reduce your chance for tick bites.
- Check your body for ticks. It’s important to check yourself thoroughly for ticks after being outside. Pay special attention to feet, ankles, behind the knees and armpits.
- Remove ticks promptly. If you see a tick on you, make sure to remove it promptly and place it in a plastic bag in case it needs to be tested for Lyme.
If you have a problem with ticks in your yard, you may need professional treatment. Mosquito Squad’s tick control service helps fight Lyme by killing ticks before they can bite you. To learn more, please visit our website or contact your local Mosquito Squad office.